Stuck inside on a sweltering hot day with busy children? If you have or have cared for children for any length of time, you know what I mean. The children are full of energy and the heat index tells you that you’d better keep them indoors. But... being indoors can be just as fun as outdoors!
Get the “wiggles” out with a few of these fun gross motor activities:
- Create an obstacle course out of pillows, cushions and blankets, which require children to crawl, climb, hop and roll.
- Pull out the music and freeze dance, go on a Bear Hunt, grab the broom and Limbo or do some good old-fashioned Hokey Pokey!
- Ball up a bunch of clean socks and have a sock throwing contest - add a laundry basket for basketball or tape on the floor for a volleyball game.
- Technology can help you get inspired. You can find videos on yoga for kids on YouTube. Websites, such as GoNoodle, have videos - short gross motor activities with catchy children’s tunes. Or throw in a CD and have a good old fashioned dance party!
- Light up that brain! Use the alphabet to come up with movements for each letter and do them (“J” is for jump, "S" is for Skip) or get together with your bodies and create the letters by laying on the floor in the shape of each. You could even play a game of charades or have the children move in different ways to find a shape or color in the room that you call out. By varying the movements (run, skip, walk backward, crawl) the children will be using different muscles.
- Check the recycling bin. Use those old boxes to create a tunnel to crawl through. Paper plates make great indoor skates. Create a throwing game by crumpling newspaper into balls, hang long strips of tape and after throwing the newspaper at them, see who got the most to stick to the tape.
- Balloons and pool noodles make a fun-filled active afternoon. Just be sure to maintain close supervision at all times and immediately throw away popped balloon pieces as they are a choking hazard.
Keeping children active helps them, too.
It is important to children’s health, as well as the development of social skills, motor skills and maintenance of healthy weight. Children who get physical activity daily get the benefits of improved fitness and cardiovascular health, bone and muscle development, improved sleep, mood and well-being. No matter what you end up doing, be sure to have fun with it!
For guidance on when it may be too hot to go outdoors and play, check out the Child Care Weather Watch Chart.
heat index, indoor play, gross motor skills, child care weather watch chart